Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Victory comes at a price for Glentoran hero Nixon

Colin Nixon
Colin Nixon

The next time Colin Nixon sits down to Sunday lunch at his in-laws he may find the sprouts being passed with more velocity than usual.

His reward for his last gasp heroics at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday night was a peck on the cheek from his wife, Louise, who hails from the Braid, and a hug from son, Max.

It wasn't the only hugs and kisses he received, his team-mates showing their love for their skipper after his 91st minute equaliser and scenes of unbridled passion with his stunning winner three minutes later to bring the curtain down on an amazing game.

The welcome though at the in-laws may not just be as warm though.

“There have been some exciting games and I'm sure it was a great game for the fans up here,” he said afterwards.

“The fans at Ballymena are always very good, they know their football and they got a great game.

“My mother-in-law and father-in-law are from Ballymena and I'm sure I'll not be too popular but I'm greedy for points and I'm just glad that Glentoran got the three points.

“All we can do is keep winning and anything less than a win wouldn't have been good enough, but we got the win, the team dug in, fought hard and three points is three points.”

Andy Waterworth had gained the champions a foothold in a game that threaten to see their title defence in tatters, second best in all departments for 83 minutes and lucky just to be two Nathan McConnell goals in arrears.

A penalty miss from Andy Smith and the former Glenman's spurning of two other chances, or well saved by James Taylor depending on whether your hue was sky blue or green, red, and black, but Nixon's rescue act had Alan McDonald's men in the pink.

“We were lucky, to tell you the truth,” admitted Nixon. “It was a topsy-turvy match that could have gone either way.

“We certainly had to battle and in the first-half we really weren't at our best and I know I got two goals but a big mention must go to James Taylor who made a fantastic penalty save to keep us in the game.

“And the save he made when Andy (Smith) went through, he really pulled us out and while we're absolutely over the moon with the result we can't keep just performing for 20 minutes and we know that.”

And when your full-back, or centre-back as he was deputising for the injured Paul Leeman at the heart of defence and in the skipper's role, turns up on the left hand side to hammer home a glorious winner, you get the feeling there's a frustrated striker longing to be unleashed.

“The boys always laugh and joke because I play up front in training and I always tell them there will come a time when I'm needed and it proved to be that,” he said with a smile.

“It's great to get the goals but we're a team, we win together and we lose together and it really could have gone either way for us but thank goodness we got three points and it keeps us in there.

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